PUSAN, South Korea - Renault wants to sell 500,000 cars in Asia-Pacific by 2005, Chairman Louis Schweitzer announced last week.
That total does not include Nissan vehicles.
Last year, Renault sold just 10,011 vehicles in Asia-Pacific.
With the purchase of Samsung Motors and Dacia and its global alliance with Nissan, Renault is laying the foundations of a long-term strategy in the Asia-Pacific area.
This Asian strategy, which involves all four brands now included in the French group's portfolio, should be completed by 2001, according to Renault's top executives.
At a press conference at Samsung's Pusan plant here, Schweitzer said: '50 percent of our Asia sales in 2005 will come from Samsung,' excluding Nissan sales.
The target for Samsung in Korea alone is 250,000 cars in 2005. After this, it could start exports, Schweitzer said. But he also expects 250,000 further Asian sales through Renault and Dacia, the Romanian carmaker it bought last year.
'This figure is rather optimistic. It's less of an actual target than a sign of our ambitions,' said Georges Douin, Renault's executive vice president for product planning and international operations.
Douin said that Renault's strategy for Asian markets would be defined more accurately next year.
He is now is supervising a newly created Asia division. The division is moving headquarters from Singapore to Tokyo where it will be located in Nissan Motor's head office.
The division will be headed by Patrick Debrot, previously marketing manager with Renault's light-commercial vehicle division.
Some basic rules about Renault's strategy in the region have already been decided.
'Samsung exports must be defined in relation to Nissan,' said Douin. 'At this stage we are not focusing specifically on Asia.
'I would exclude the USA and Europe from Samsung exports, but Samsung could play the part of a premium brand in a number of intermediate countries - in South America, for instance.'
Renault already makes the Megane in Colombia.
According to Douin, the brand strategy for Samsung is complex because it's viewed as a premium brand inside Korea, but as a mainstream Korean brand outside.
Dacia also will be involved in the region, with low-cost models. Schweitzer wants to develop a $6,000 Dacia as an entry-level vehicle for emerging markets.
'Without this we would have no chance of going into India or China,' said Douin.
So far Renault has stayed out of India. It is disappointed with its Chinese operations, where it makes a few hundred minibuses a year in Hubei province. Talks began two years ago to start making the Scenic compact minivan in Beijing. But nothing has been agreed.
Renault will provide what Douin calls 'visible products,' such as the Scenic, in Asia-Pacific. Following on from the Scenic plant in Brazil, the car could go on sale in Australia and Thailand in the near future. It could even be made in Thailand.
In Australia, Renault could use Nissan's dealer network. Nissan sold 45,000 cars in Australia in 1998.
In Thailand, Nissan operates two assembly plants with its local partner Siam Motors in Samut Prakan. One plant makes Datsun pickups, the other builds the Cefiro and Sunny sedans, together with the AD Resort, a vehicle built only for Thailand.
Because of the Asian crisis, Nissan sales in Thailand dropped from a peak of 93,000 units in 1996 to 8,300 in the first six months of 1999, according to the Thailand Automobile Club.
Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, where Nissan and Renault have local operations, are also likely targets for the two carmakers.